Tethering Fido could have serious side effects

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 11, 2011

You don’t have to look very far to find a dog tied to a tree, a post, or a dog house.

Usually, the dog house is positioned the farthest point from the house and it can easily be spotted because there is a well defined dirt circle around it that stretches as far as the dog can reach.

There are some that say that tethering (or chaining) a dog is no big deal and that it is their right. The fact is there are many negative effects that go with tethering.

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In addition to the lack of human contact, tethered dogs are many times victims of abuse. Mental abuse from no socialization, lack of water, stale food, and inadequate shelter are just a few that most suffer from.

They are forced to eat, sleep, urinate, and defecate all in the same area- which is against a dog’s natural instincts. Tethered dogs also can suffer from neck injuries from the constant straining and their collar can even become embedded in their skin.

Being chained to one spot makes them defenseless against abusive people, stray dogs, and wild animals.

In the long term, studies have shown that tethered dogs are three times more likely to be aggressive and bite a person than a dog that is in a fenced-in yard.

While tethering a dog for a short period of time, with adequate food, water, and shelter, is normally safe- after time a dog becomes stir crazy because they have no way to release built up energy.

Chained dogs suffer from boredom, which leads to frustration, which leads to aggression. Since tethered dogs have such a small place to dwell, they become ultra protective of their small area.

Some states have even passed laws that protect dogs from tethering. Ohio and Kentucky have no such laws that I could find, but in West Virginia, it is unlawful for any person to intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly cruelly chain or tether an animal.

Breaking this law makes you guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine and possible jail time. Some states have not passed laws because the law makers in those states believe that it would “force” constituents to erect fences.

Tethering is seen by some as a necessity, and some see it as abuse. The effects of tethering are easy to see and proven to be negative.

Giving a dog a proper living environment is all part of responsible pet ownership.

Remember, every dog deserves to be treated like a show dog.

Tony and Kate Barker are certified pet groomers who own and operate The BARKer Shop in Ironton. For questions, call 740-534-0088.